Ikaria is an island in the Greek Aegean Sea, in the Eastern Mediterranean. The island is named after Icarus, son of Daedalus, the young man who according to Greek mythology fled Crete, flew too close to the sun with wings made of wax, and fell into the sea near Ikaria.
The island has been known as a therapeutic destination for centuries because of its natural hot springs. More recently, Ikaria was categorized by Dan Buettner and National Geographic as one of the five so-called "Blue Zones", areas in which the inhabitants have an above-average life span. The island is indeed home to some of the happiest and longest living people in the world.
Ikaria is different. Ikarians are anything but rich. They are not interested in getting rich or making more money. They seem happy and satisfied. Probably because life in Ikaria has remained largely untouched by the westernized way of life.
Life on Ikaria takes place in a time when the doors can remain unlocked, strangers are welcome, crime practically doesn’t exist and there’s a very strong community spirit.
The Ikarian lifestyle is based on a strong tradition of solidarity between people and an active social life in which all ages participate. Local churches organise everything and everyone is invited to participate. This applies in particular to weddings and to the famous Panigiria (village festivals), of which 89 take place annually.
Ikarians are well known for their relaxed and easy-going approach to life. There are no time constraints or deadlines; the life of Ikarians moves at a different rhythm. A slow and steady rhythm embedded in every aspect of life – this is what gives the island its special character and unique soul.